Who’s the Bully Now?

fear, confidence, bully, friends, encouragement

The Bully on the Playground

As creatives who want to make a difference with our lives, we’re often confronted by a bully on the playground. It’s the voice that tells you you’re not worth anything and you’ll never make it. And it always shows up at the wrong time.

Bullies are the tough guys with all the attitude and put downs. Their strategy is to make you feel inadequate and look stupid in front of your peers.  He knows if he can keep you intimidated, he’s safe to continue his heinous behavior without repercussion.  

Bullying is a real problem in today’s culture. Hurtful words, name calling, and public humiliation cause depression and hopelessness.  Hundreds of thousands of suicides in young people every year are a direct result, making suicide the second leading cause of death of individuals ages 15-24.

Overcoming bullying is difficult for two main reasons.

  1. The victim feels ashamed about being the target of other’s harassment and therefore doesn’t reach out for help or intervention.  
  2. The victim starts to believe the accusations on their character are true because the constant barrage of negativity begins to influence their own thoughts about themselves.  

The Creative Bully

So, what do you do when YOU are the bully on the playground of your MIND?

Creatives each have their own personal bully inside their head. It’s Fear.  

Fear is a bully. Fear has a big mouth. Fear wants you to feel inadequate and make you think you look stupid. Fear says you have nothing to offer and you’re better off fading into the background of life. Fear says someone else is more qualified.

Fear gains control of our lives for the same reason bullying dominates the minds of susceptible young people. Shame and constant negativity.

You can do it!

The good news is that, just like bullying, fear can be overcome.  Employing a few simple tactics can help you find the support you need to keep moving forward and equip you with enough confidence to stand tall.

    1. Surround yourself with supportive people.  You know at least 2-3 people who are going to support you no matter what.  When you start hearing the negative voices in your head, get on the phone with your support group. Your supporters will be happy to walk with you through the negativity and help you build your confidence.
    2. Learn from those who are succeeding.  Someone out there is successfully doing what you want to do. Find out where they started from, what adversities they had to overcome, and what steps they took to achieve success. You’ll find out that they are just regular people who battled the bully daily but didn’t give up.
    3. DON’T GIVE UP!  Too often people give up on their dream just before it’s about to become a reality.  They feel uncomfortable and out of their comfort zone.  They allow the negative voices to convince them that the discomfort is a result of not being good enough.  When in reality, it’s normal to feel squeezed when things are about to bust wide open. Growing pains are a normal result of progress. Instead of giving in to the uneasy feelings and backing away, consider restructuring your approach to keep yourself aligned with your goals.

 

We all face negativity.  We are always our own worst critic.  Thankfully, the voice of fear is all bark and no bite. You can overcome fear by fighting negative thoughts with positive actions. Gather faithfully supportive people around you, learn from those who are succeeding, and keep moving forward.

Do these things and fear doesn’t stand a chance!

Miranda Signature

 

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My Creativity is Afraid of My Friends

fear, creativity, dream, share, friends

fear, creativity, dream, share, friendsSometimes I think I’m cursed with talent.  Maybe it’s a blessing.  But it often produces as much frustration as it does joy.  It’s this creative part built into me that I love at times.  But a lot of the time I’m afraid of it.

I’m a creative.  I have dozens of ideas running through my head at any given time.  It’s a driving force that I can’t seem to escape.  Often, I have to do something to get those ideas out or it drives me crazy.  If it’s crafting, decorating, designing, or writing, it’s a creative outlet.  It makes me feel normal again to be able to make something interesting or beautiful with the things that are swirling around in my mind.  And when I’ve created something and completed it, I want to share it.  But then a new frustration crops up.  Fear.

Fear kills more creativity than failure.

I’m finally admitting out loud that I’m afraid of my friends.  I’m afraid they won’t understand why I create.  That they’ll be critical or question the merit of it.  Maybe they won’t care.  Which might even be worse.  Does it really matter?  I can’t decide.

The things I create are part of me.  They are birthed from my mind and delivered through my hands.  Time, energy and a huge amount of myself is invested in the things I create.  I love them.  And I want to protect them and guard them against criticism.  Yet I want to share them because they mean so much to me.

It may or may not matter what someone else’s opinion is, but you are more vulnerable to the voices of the people you love. The people closest to us are the one’s that we often fear the most because they have the most influence in our lives.  Their opinions have more meaning than that of strangers.

Is this a rational fear?  Good question.  I’m still struggling with it.  My head says that it’s not.  That no one’s opinion should be a deterrent from reaching for a dream.  That my friends are great and will be supportive.

Fear says to keep the things that are precious to me inside, hidden and safe.  It’s not worth the pain.

But my heart says that I’ll never be truly fulfilled until I can share what I love with the world. That I can’t help people if I never share what I have.

Is my calling bigger than my fear?  Do I have what it takes to overstep the boundaries of fear?  These walls can’t hold me back forever.

If you believe strongly in your purpose to create, don’t let fear stand in the way.  There is a community of creatives that are walking the same road.  There are probably several in your own personal circle that you may not even be aware of.

Reach out to people who share some of the same interests.  If you’re a writer, seek out writers.  If you’re a sculptor, seek out other sculptors.  You can create a forum for people to share their interests in an online community or a local mastermind group.

Don’t hold back what you have.  You might be the inspiration that someone else needs.

The greatest thing to fear is fear itself.

Do you wrestle with fear like I do?  Are you keeping something safely hidden because it’s vulnerable to criticism?  How did you get through it or are you still struggling like me?  You can share your comments here.

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Recipe for Happiness

family, friends, love, conversation, faith, surprises, quiet, time, food, content, coffee

It’s not a secret recipe.  If you know someone who needs an extra helping of happiness, click the image and print the PDF to share with them.  Don’t forget to serve it up with a great cup of coffee.

family, friends, love, conversation, faith, surprises, quiet, time, food, content, coffee

Do you have any special ingredients that you like to add to your happiness?  Shoot me a note in the comments.

 

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Simple Ways To Invest In Others

community, help, invest, talent, ability, work, together

invest, friends, work, together, ability, talent

 

We need each other.

It’s pretty easy to get focused on ourselves in life.  We’re intent on getting the best out of everything.  We’re going to live the high life and do what it takes to take care of me and mine.  And that’s okay.  But don’t forget that to get the best requires tapping into the abilities and talents of others.

I can’t take care of everything by myself.  I can’t fix my car, I’m not a mechanic.  I can’t rewire my house, I’m not an electrician.  I can’t plow the snow out of my own yard, I don’t have a snowplow.

I don’t have the knowledge, tools, or the motivation to do any of those things.  However, there are other people that can do those things.  They have the knowledge.  They obtained the knowledge for the purpose of helping others.  Some may have the right tools and are waiting for someone to ask for their help.

 

We all have different talents and abilities.

I, personally, don’t have a talent for making small talk in a crowd of strangers.  I feel awkward, stumble on my words, look for a place to hide, and generally make it uncomfortable for everyone involved.

I have a friend that lives for talking.  We make a good team.  She makes the small talk, learns everyone’s name and makes the introductions.  Once past that initial breaking of the ice, I’m ready to join the conversation.  When the topic turns philosophical, my friend finds someone else to chat with while I’m in my glory.

 

Be an encouraging friend.  

It’s so important that we encourage those around us to tap into their natural talents and abilities.  To work on them, practice them, and grow.  We all make up a community and have the same goal, individually and collectively.  To win.  I want helpful people in my corner.

Take time to foster relationships with a variety of people.  You never know when you might need the very talent they have.  And they may just be waiting for someone to ask them for some help.

Think about it.  It’s a pretty awesome feeling to win a race.  But it’s more exciting to play as a team and your team wins.  Then you have others to celebrate with.

Investing in others around you doesn’t have to be hard.  It only takes a little time and an honest effort.

1. Compliment them on their talent.  

We often discredit our own talents.  Complimenting someone on their talent helps them to see that it is an area where they excel.  It’s also something that is unique to them and is needed by others.  Everyone wants to be needed.

2. Ask them to help you with a project that needs their talent.

By putting their talent to use, you are showing them how much it’s needed.  It gives them a chance to practice what they know and help someone in the process.

3. Always believe they are more capable with their talent then they think. 

We all need a little push now and then.  It’s not easy to move beyond our comfort zone.  But when there is someone who truly believes in our capabilities we are more willing to stretch.  That’s how we grow.

4. Offer a book or website that deals in developing their talent.

A talent that doesn’t grow is a talent that stagnates and atrophies.  Ever hear someone say they’re “a little rusty” in an area.  It’s time to sand the rust off and hone those skills.

5. If they lack in an area, offer the name of someone who is a natural to help them.

As a community, we are all here to help each other.  It’s about give and take.  We don’t have to be good at everything.  We just need to know where the resources are.

6. Don’t be stingy with your talent.  Offer it to them in some way.  

Show someone that you’re willing to use your talent to help others.  Be an example of encouragement and support.  Let others know that your talents are available to those around you.  Everyone’s a winner when everyone shares.

 

Create a community around you that can help you win.  Contribute your talents and your encouragement.  An investment in others is an investment in yourself.

How have you invested in someone else? I’d love to hear your comment.

 

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Benefits of Saying Thank-You

Benefits of Saying Thank-You

I’ve often thought about sending out more thank-you notes.  Just to show some appreciation for others around me.  To say, “Hey, I want you to know your hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.  I appreciate you!”

For some reason though, I’ve never really got around to it?  I think I’ve finally figured out why.  I’m scared.

  • It’s humbling.  I’m admitting that I was lacking in some area and the help I received from this person was needful.  That’s okay.  Come down off your pedestal.  We all need help now and then.
  • It makes me vulnerable. Because it brings out real human emotion.  Opening up to someone else in authentic human interaction also opens you up to criticism.  Which is, of course, an irrational fear.  I mean, really?  Who is going to criticize you for appreciating them?  I’m an introvert.  It’s a constant fear.  Irrational and constant. But not impossible to overcome.
  • My motivation will be questioned.  Won’t they think I’m trying to butter them up so I can ask for some huge favor?  Not entirely.  Although that isn’t my main motivation, it does play a part.  I want to be surrounded by helpful people.  I want wisdom and talent on my side.  Even if it comes from others.

Looking my fears in the face makes them seem so much smaller.  I’ve laid out some of the benefits that I would gain by simply saying “thank-you” to people that have been there for me in some way.

 

 5 Benefits of Saying Thank-You

1.  It draws people in.

By opening yourself up to others, you widen your personal sphere.  You allow others access to a piece of your life.  That can be a very good thing because you may need to draw on the strength and talents of others sometime in the future.  It’s easier to ask for help from someone who is in your personal sphere of influence.

2.  You gain credibility in others’ lives.

If you can show appreciation for good work, than you must know what good work looks like.  That also means you have more room to offer insight to help someone improve their skills.  Criticism should always be sandwiched between compliments.

3.  It boosts others’ confidence.

Think about it.  By saying thank-you, you just gave a compliment.  You’re saying that whatever the other person did was worthy of appreciation.

I don’t keep birthday cards, but I do keep thank you notes.  Not “thanks for the gift cards,” but thanks for your hard work, thanks for your help, thanks for your support, thanks for being a friend, type cards.  It’s a reminder that something I did made a difference to someone else.

4.  It makes others feel worthwhile.

Maybe the motivation behind what they did was only obligation or expectation.  You just took a meaningless activity (to them), and turned it into a feather in their cap.  They didn’t expect recognition, but receiving it is a blue ribbon.

5.  It builds a support team.

By saying thank-you, you’re putting helpful people in your corner.  You become a person who is easy to help because everyone wants to be appreciated.

 

Do you know who it’s easy to do things for?  Thankful people.  Become one.  Say thank-you to someone who has done something small for you.  Reap the benefits.

BTW/ I sent out 3 thank you cards this week.  Guess what I got back?  “Thanks for the card! It meant so much to me.”

High five, Me!

 

What’s you’re favorite way to say thank-you?  Text? E-mail? Card?  Leave a comment!

 

 

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